Muncie: Communications Director Promotes Local Media on Government Website

The Power of the Press Has Been Exchanged for Propaganda

Muncie city administration has fascinating ideas on how to conduct its business affairs. As a former banker, I’m sure the mayor is used to getting away with all sorts of sleaze after the “too big to jail” era when former president Barack Obama installed his Citibank bros to save Wall Street. But, has the conservative midwest community become the Wild West like Texas under Republican leadership?

I know the community has been entangled with sleaze for a very long time with conflicts of interest no matter where you turn. But, unfortunately, our local media, the fourth estate, are just as sleazy and embroiled in the same conflicts of interest. Instead of doing their jobs, they’ve become the public relations departments for the largest advertisers in town.

Conflict of Interest

In researching the Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC), I came across the Muncie website promoting three media companies. For one thing, City’s website isn’t even an official website within the state of Indiana. Marion, for instance, has a website domain titled:, whereas Muncie’s website domain is – it’s a vanity website.

Muncie is running a vanity URL outside the purview of the State government, which recommends using domains under the IN.GOV registration – see the state webmaster here. You are supposed to have permission to operate a vanity URL. I’m guessing Muncie doesn’t even have permission. On the other hand, if you go to the Chamber of Commerce website, its domain is, so maybe Jud Fisher through DAC does own Muncie.

When I asked Tony Sandleben, the new city communications director, about it, he said those media sites were the only “credentialed news sites” in Muncie. When I asked him how he went about credentialing the news sites, he responded that it was “less about the credentialing process and more about only three spaces for news.” Then, he wished me a nice day.

So, Tony gets to pick three media companies to insert into the City’s website paid for by taxpayers. He’s not even running a state-recommended domain. One of his choices was Indiana Public Radio, where Tony was previously employed before joining the city government. The other two media companies are propaganda for all the sleazy operations here. Fascinating.

Next Muncie and Delaware Advancement Corporation

As I wrote about in my latest articles here and here, there are a plethora of nonprofits controlled by Jud Fisher, the local aristocrat lineage from the Ball family. If the residents knew the truth about the Ball family’s construct of systemic racism, I doubt they would be so accommodating. According to the latest census, Muncie is around 11% minorities, but our city school system is 40% black. Hmm, how is that possible? Where are all those white kids in Muncie?

After the murder of George Floyd, the topic of reparations was mentioned in town but was quickly stamped out by the “black community leaders” who have “reached status within the community.” The oligarchy gave them a Black Chamber of Commerce and a Deputy Mayor. Everything quieted down. The racist police department wasn’t touched. Once again, no meaningful reconciliation took place.

Well, Next Muncie had a chance with an apartment complex being developed within the City Center. In addition, the white “leaders” at Next Muncie could have created an ownership vehicle for the black community in what is dubbed an “Opportunity Zone.”

But instead, the City transferred the property to Delaware Advancement Corp, which then sold it to Dr. Stephen Moore, a Bloomington millionaire associated with CarDon & Associates (nursing home operators) and IU Health, so he could avoid paying his capital gains tax. But, of course, I can’t get this confirmed because the Mayor, Jud Fisher, DAC, nor the property managers will answer my questions.

So, instead of setting up a trust for the minorities screwed by decades under the sleaze of systemic racism, the City’s “economic developers” offered the property to a wealthy white doctor to hide his capital gains taxes. At the same time, The Star Press and Muncie Journal brag about “investments in Opportunity Zones.”

Propaganda is thick y’all.

In the old days, we’d call that putting lipstick on a pig. No wonder none of them want to have a press conference to answer questions. They issue press releases instead, and the members of our local press drop to their knees and print it off. This sleaze is the real reason the subscriptions at local media have died. Why would subscribers want to waste their money being shined by the entities supposed to be working for them? Amazingly, it’s the same reason people don’t vote.

And, where are all those white kids? Yorktown, Delta, Cowan, and ___________.

On my way to the new clerk’s office to file papers against the City. May go back later this afternoon as well if I can’t get some answers.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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